Monday, August 30, 2010

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

We do a lot of canning here.  And the thought has always followed that in an emergency situation, canning things would be impossible without a good supply of canning lids.  The jars and rings can be re-used, but the lids are supposedly a one time use deal.  So we stock canning lids in the food storage.  A bunch of them.  But even those will eventually run out and then canning as a preservation method is done.

So one day, sweet husband got searching the internet (which is usually a dangerous thing) and found Tattler Reuseable canning lids and of course we had to give them a try.  The Tattler company was gracious enough to send me some wide mouth and some regular mouth lids to review.  I used them to can blueberry jam.  I'll post the blueberry jam tutorial later, today we're just discussing the very cool lids.

The lids come in 12 packs, just like regular canning lids.  Tattler also offers bulk pricing on them.  Each lid is two pieces, the white plastic "lid" and the rubber ring gasket.  You will need to have the screw on metal band that came with your jars if you bought them new.  The bands are also available from Ball/Kerr as boxes of lids with bands.  If you've been canning for a while you probably have plenty of the bands around. 

The Tattler lids are available for regular or wide mouth jars and fit all standard canning jars like Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, etc.  And at approximately $7.00 per dozen regular mouth and $8.00 per dozen wide mouth, it will only take 2-3 uses to make them less expensive to use than the standard canning lids.

So here's the instructions for using them:

Prep your jars as usual (wash, sterilize, etc.).  Put the Tattler lids and rubber gaskets in a pot of hot water and heat almost to boiling.  The box says "scald lids and rubber rings".

Now, their box says to leave the lids and rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them, but the little printout instructions they sent said to take the rings out and let them cool before using them, leaving the lids in the hot water.  I didn't read the box until after, so I took the rings out and let them cool.  I'll have to try the next batch leaving the rings in the water.

When you've got your food in your jars, wipe the rims of the jars, stick the rubber rings on the lids and put the lids on the jars.  Use the screw band to tighten it all up.  So far so good, right?  Pretty much like using any other lid except for the part of having to assemble them before putting them on the jar.

Now, here's something new.  After you've got the lid screwed on, turn the metal band back 1/4 inch.  That's one quarter of an inch, not one quarter turn.  It doesn't turn back very much, just a little bit.

Now the jars are ready to process in your canner.  These lids are supposed to work for either water bath or pressure canning.  I'll try pressure canning something with them another time.  Jam goes in the water bath canner, so that's what we did.  Process your food however that food is supposed to be processed.  This jam was in the canner for 10 minutes.

When the jars are done processing, here's the other change.  TIGHTEN the lids up when you pull the jars out of the canner.  Regular lids you don't tighten when they come out of the canner, but these lids you tighten.

Let them cool at room temperature and the lids kind of suck down.  I was a little thrown off by there being no "popping" sound, but they did look sucked down when they were done cooling.

To open the bottle, use a butter knife (nothing sharp) and stick it between the rubber ring and the jar and you'll break the seal.  I had to take a lid off already because I wanted to give some jam to a friend, but didn't want to give them the lid.  Really, they wouldn't know what to do with it.  Okay, maybe after reading my post they would, but that's not the point.  The point is I took a lid off.

To use it again, Tattler recommends putting the ring on the opposite direction that it was the last time you canned with it.  You can see the little grooves the white lid leaves in the rubber ring if you look close--those will let you know which way to set the rubber ring next time.  The next two pictures show the rubber ring taken off the lid and turned over to show the grooves.  You can see the grooves better in real life than they are showing up in the pictures.  You might have to get your reading glasses out, but you'll be able to tell which way the ring went so you can turn it over next time.  (If you click the pictures they enlarge and you can see the grooves a little better.)

All my jars sealed fine.  I've got them in the food room with the other jams and jellies now.  Impressive.  Why didn't I hear about these lids sooner?  If I'd purchased them when I started canning it would have saved me a ton in purchasing lids over the years.  And fewer old lids in the trash can.  Plus it solves the problem of running out of lids in the emergency supplies.

Having canned for a long time, there are a few things I'll have to get used to when using these lids.
1. I can't just sharpie the product and date on the lid since I'll be re-using it.  I had to get labels out.
2. I'll have to can some things with regular lids to give as gifts since I really don't want to be giving my special lids away.
3.  I'll have to find a new method of storing my jars since right now I have way more jars than reusable lids, so screwing a lid on each jar to store it isn't going to work.
4.  I need a tote or something to keep the reusable canning lids in since I don't know how many times I'll be able to just put them back in their original box before the box falls apart.

None of those things are worth too much though when you consider the longevity of the Tattler Reusable Canning Lids and not having to worry about your lid supply if there is no more grocery store deliveries.

A few more notes about the lids that might be of interest: They are BPA free, made of FDA and USDA approved materials, dishwasher safe, and indefinitely reusable.  The rubber rings are supposed to last 20 years or more before needing replaced.  Definitely worth looking into.

I'll be canning a few more things with my samples, then picking up some more of these for our canning supplies.  What do you think?


Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Thanks for the review, Angela. I've heard about them, but not looked in depth. At the price of only $2.50 per dozen, they really are worth buying--even though I do need ALOT!!

Question, so the red rubber ring, can be reused for 20 years? You just keep flipping it from side to side?

Flattail Family said...

Thanks for finding these! I'll spread the word among my canning friends.

Josh said...

This seems to be a good find. Please keep us updated with them. Let us know how your next batch turns out.

It seems a little off that the rubber seal would last 20 years?

Great article. I will be looking into them.

ezrablu said...

Great find! I will definitely be investing in a lot of these. They will pay for themselves in two uses. Thanks for sharing this!

Bellen said...

Great post. Are you sure you can't mark the lids with a Sharpie? I mark all kinds of plastic containers and can wash it off with dish liquid put on the scrubby side of 2 sided sponges.

Kelly in PA said...

This is great, thank you! I just went through a confusing search on Amazon last week trying to find rubber rings for my Mom's old jars with the glass lid and bails. It was not at all clear which ones would fit. This sounds like a much better option - I just ordered some! I do a lot of dehydrating and vacuum sealing in canning jars. I wonder if these will work well for that. I can re-use my regular canning lids over and over for that, though.

Julene said...

I found these on the internet a few weeks ago and thought they were a great idea, but if they have been around since the 70's how come more people don't use them? That was my only concern. I think more canners would be using them if they were as good as they advertise. And I agree with Josh above that it seems odd that a rubber seal would work that long. I have to buy a new rubber gasket for my canner sooner than that. I will be interested to hear how they work for you. Thanks for the post. Always great info!

TM Frugal Gourmet said...

I bought 3 dozen of each size during the spring. I used them for strawberry jam. I am pressure canning some beans this month, so I will post about these lids again on my blog. So far I am LOVEING these, and plan to buy more!

Angela said...

Thanks all for the comments. I didn't actually try marking the plastic with my sharpie--I was scared it wouldn't come off. Maybe I'll try one and see.

Here's what Tattler has to say about the 20 year life of their rubber rings plus why there are not more people using their lids:

"The comment about the rubber rings lasting as much as 20 years comes directly from a customer who wrote us in August of 2009 as can be seen on our website's Testimonials page

I personally use rubber rings that were manufactured in 1976, and have run numerous tests in an effort to answer questions regarding our claim of multiple, repetitive uses. While Jackie Clay was reviewing our product for Backwoods Home Magazine, I conducted a test during which I used a test group of 14 lids/rings. All were used in water bath and pressure canning methods, where I canned taco meat, pesto, dried nuts, and sometimes just plain water (for simplicity). After 13 successful seals on all lids/rings, I ended the test and used them all one final time to can food for my own use, ending with 14 successful seals and zero failures. The point was to determine how many times they could be used before repetitive failure OR enough successful seals to satisfy the idea they were more economical than traditional metal lids.

On our Facebook page there is a post which shows a jar of water which had been sealed for the 10th time using the same lid/ring combo both of which were manufactured in 1976.

Finally, while our product has been available since 1976, we have not marketed it much since it's inception in the mid 70's. The issue has never been the quality of the product, but the ability to market it effectively. Until the advent of the internet, advertising en masse was very cost prohibitive, especially for a small company. It wasn't until recently that we determined our product's time had truly come and we could market direct to consumers via the internet. With the combined concerns over BPA, the economy, a resurgence in canning, environmental concerns, and numerous other issues, we believe it is the perfect time to re-vitalize our product and reintroduce consumers to a wonderful canning product."

Heidi said...

They look great! This makes me wonder... What did they do in the olden days of canning? Same thing we do now?

Anonymous said...

are you giving these away?

Angela said...

E--the post for the giveaway is here. Thanks. :)

liz said...

i can't believe i hadn't heard of these before! these will be great to have. i just enter the giveaway too- how awesome- fingers crossed! thanks!

Laurence and Sidney said...

Am I missing something? When I went to their website is was $2.50 for a dozen rubber rings but $20.95 for 3 dozen lids and rings. Don't we need to purchase both to begin with?
I would like to look into ordering, but want to make sure I order what I need. This sounds like an incredible find, as it addresses one of my own concerns.
Thanks Sidney

Angela said...

Sidney, you are right, I read that wrong and have corrected my post. You do need the lid/rubber ring combo to start out with. It is about 7.00 per dozen for regular mouth and 8.00 per dozen for wide mouth. So you'll have to use them 2-3 times before they're less expensive than the standard metal canning lids. Thanks for catching that!

Mom's Cafe Home Cooking said...

Hi Angela :) I've been doing some rather extensive testing with the Tattler lids. With shipping & handling my cost works out to 80¢ per lid in comparison to 10¢ per lid for the metal ones. I need to reuse the lid at least 8 times before I break even but after that I will start saving money on lids. I posted a full review of these lids on Sep 5 if you're interested. Like you I will still be using metal lids for jars that are given away.

becky3086 said...

Wow! I have to get some of these!

Unknown said...

I bought several dozen Tattler's in '08. So far, so good. They are working as well as advertised. My ratio of failures is the same as with the disposal lids on the market. I attribute that to old jars, not the lids/rings.
One word of caution on the Tattlers. Take care of them immediately after opening! I've lost several rings due to carelessness and having three grandkids in the house.

And a note on the one piece one use lids. I have been reusing them with a 90% plus success ratio. the trick is to remove them very carefully. I pop them off with my fingernails. If they are not bent, they will reseal for the next use. Eyeball them closely. Or lay them on a flat surface upside down and check to see if the rim completely touches the counter top/table top all the way around.

Taneil said...

I use a chine pencil otherwise known as a grease pencil on my canning lids (I purchased mine at an art supply store). It doesn't come off in the waterbath so I can mark the lids and/or jars before they get hot. It rubs off with a soft cloth but not so easily that something brushing up against it will take it off.